Analysis: Infighting within political blocs dominates days before elections

September 16, 2019 by Arye Green -TPS
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Israel (Sunday): With only two days ahead of the elections, the two major political parties, Likud and Blue and White, are attempting to lure voters from their own political blocs, in an effort to take the lead and form a government after the elections.

Elections in Jerusalem. (Esty Dziubov/TPS)

Both Blue and White of the centre-left bloc, and the Likud of the right-wing bloc, received 35 seats in the April elections, and are ahead of all other parties in the polls.

Following the April elections, President Reuven Rivlin charged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with forming a government, based on the recommendation of 65 Members of Knesset (MKs).

He was, however, unable to form a government due to a disagreement between Avigdor Lieberman, head of Yisrael Beiteinu, and the Ultra-Orthodox parties over a law that would draft some ultra-orthodox youth to the IDF.

After the failure to form a government in the last elections, some have suggested that the largest party may have a better chance of receiving a mandate to form a government from the president, regardless of the MKs recommendations.

As the campaigns peak in the final days before the elections, the two major parties have been aiming their election campaigns primarily at voters from their own political bloc, hoping to beat their primary political adversary and be granted the presidential mandate to form the next government.

The right-wing Likud has coined the slogan “only a large Likud will prevent a left-wing government,” urging voters who want to prevent such a government to do so by voting Likud, and not other right-wing parties.

Additionally, Netanyahu has spoken to numerous media outlets in recent days urging voters not to vote for the far-right Otzma Yehudit because they have no chance of passing the electoral threshold, and not to vote for the right-wing Yamina, because they will likely pass the electoral threshold, and it is more important to help the Likud become the biggest party in the Knesset.

The centre-left Blue and White have primarily been targeting the secular vote. MK Yair Lapid, one of Blue and White’s leaders, has been campaigning against the Ultra-Orthodox politicians since the beginning of the current elections, and recently MK Benny Gantz, the other head of Blue and White, has seemingly joined Lapid’s message, calling for a “secular and liberal government.”

Such a government would include Blue and White, Yisrael Beiteinu and the MKs from the Likud headed by someone other than Netanyahu. By promising to form a secular government, Blue and White is hoping to gain the votes of those who have recently joined Yisrael Beiteinu, based on Liberman’s actions after the last elections, when he prevented the formation of a government with the Ultra-Orthodox parties.

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